Chuck

 

Chuck Missler impresses me greatly with his scientific arguments that back up the Bible.
I got a degree in physics a score years ago and am still impressed with numbers and facts. He provides a feast of facts and figures, some I once knew and some that are new to me. Although I would concede he is a lot smarter than me, I still have to say that in some things he is lacking.
He seems to think Jews are Israelites and he is right but not all Israelites are Jews. He says there are no lost tribes and quotes a verse from 1 Chronicles 9 that says men of Manasseh and Ephraim were among the first to return to Jerusalem.
When Jereboam led the ten tribes in rebellion against the house of David he set up idols to the north and south of the breakaway kingdom for his subjects to worship. He could see what would happen if they kept going down to the southern kingdom to worship in Jerusalem at the appointed festivals they would eventually leave him. What were the people of the northern tribes to do? Some undoubtedly upped sticks and moved permanently south. Here in Scotland there will be a referendum on independence. If the land votes, yes then I am sure some people will move to England rather than belong to a separate country. I was born in England – will my family down there now be foreigners? So there were probably folk from every tribe in Judah and therefor Jews [ Jew means a dweller from Judah ] and some of these were among the first to return from Babylon to Jerusalem. Surely Chuck can not mean all of those who were deported a couple of hundred years previously to Assyria. They numbered in their millions in King David’s day and Josephus tells us that in his day, about five hundred years after the return from Babylon had become an innumerable multitude living beyond the Euphrates and outside of the Roman empire. We have an idea who they are but must not be dogmatic. one thing is sure and that is that God does know or how would He be able to bring them back and again to unite the two kingdoms as He promised through Ezekiel with the two sticks that became one under a decendent of David. There are a host of promises about what would happen to the ten tribes and Ephraim was told by Jacob that he would become a multitude of nations and his older brother was to himself become a great nation. Prophesies about what would happen to them in the last days.
Chuck’s great powers of logic are set aside when he insists in a three in one god. If Jesus is God then how can his father be greater than him? How can God and Jesus want different things? Stephen saw Jesus standing at God’s right hand. How could God die – immortality is His alone. If God died then it must be suicide and everything sustained by Him would have to collapse. John wrote that the purpose of his gospel was to show that Jesus is the Son of God but makes no blasphemous claim that Jesus is God himself. Daniel saw Jesus being presented to God.

No, Chuck, God has given Jesus a name above all others and every knee must bow to him – to the glory of God the Father.

Update: I was thrilled to watch a few of Chuck’s talks on You Tube. In a Q & A session he was asked if USA was mentioned in Bible prophesies and of course he could only give a general sort of answer.

My conviction is that the answer is YES. In  Genesis 48 the dying Jacob is visited by his son Joseph and Joseph’s sons Manasseh and Ephraim. Jacob blesses the boys but crosses his arms to place his right hand on the younger son, Ephraim’s head. Joseph protested but Jacob would not have it otherwise. He said Manasseh would become a great nation but Ephraim’s descendants would become a multitude of nations.

In the next chapter Jacob prophesies about each of his son’s descendants, the things that will befall them in the last days.

Now, most would agree – we are living in the last days so where are these people? There were well over a million men in Israel and Judah at the time of the census that David took three thousand years ago. In Isaiah 10 & 11 we read that the people of Israel will be as the sand of the seashore but only a few will return and a descendant of David will rule them and Judah and Israel will be at peace with each other. This shows that up to the start of the messianic age these descendants of Jacob would be like grains of sand on the seashore. Figurative speech for a number in the many millions.

Jacob said in Genesis 48:20 that when blessing they would say,

“May god make you like Ephraim and Manasseh” To this day Jews use this formula to bless their sons. Does this not imply their presence even today?

So they must still exist and in multi millions and God surely knows who and where they are and they must be big players in this present age. There will be lots of others among them just as there were the mixed multitude who left Egypt with them in the Exodus.

When I read the prophesy on Joseph and the archers who sorely troubled him but his arms were made strong by the mighty God of Jacob I can’t help thinking of Britain and the dire straights we were in at the start of the Second World War and which nation has become a multitude of nations? Which brother nation has become a very great nation?

Today, thousands are desperately trying to get into these nations – may God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh!

 

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Traditional belief in the impossible

Let’s take an ordinary person – like me.

Maybe nothing special to look at but fearfully and wonderfully made. System after system of enormous complexity making up my human body. For example, let us look at the digestive system that processes my food. A factory more fantastic than the best man has built. It takes the food and drink and extracts the things vital to our survival. In fact it uses about 10% of all of our energy.

Over the last few months I have been going to Slimming World where I have lost about 3 stones (18kg). What is the secret? You can do a rigorous exercise workout every day to burn up your fat or you can let your digestive system do it while you get on with your life.

Bricks without straw

Remember how Pharaoh said the Israelites were no longer to be supplied with straw for brick making. They had to find it themselves but he still demanded the same number of bricks. Applying  this “bricks without straw” idea to our diet, not by starving but by sending down plenty to fill the stomach but food with insufficient calories for the processing plant to run on. The food still has to be processed so this fantastic machine raids the fat cells for the energy stored in them to make up the deficit. So you let your digestive system do that exercise workout for you.

Impossible odds

This amazingly complex system that was formed in my mother’s womb is so fantastic that it had to be the work of a super powerful designer and not as a result of millions of lucky mutations, all against impossible odds.

You can see that to flip a coin – heads or tails, you have a one in two chance. Your four digit PIN code is unique among the ten thousand possible codes ranging from 0000 to 9999 and that is why the cash machine may swallow your card if you make three wrong attempts in case you are working your way through all the possibilities. The National UK Lottery gives about a one in fourteen million chance of a jackpot – your chances are reduced but still it’s possible. Do a search for

http://sententias.org/2011/01/13/a-probability-so-small-its-impossible/

It is heavy stuff but concludes that something with only one chance in 10^150 (that is 1 in a one with 150 zeroes after it) is considered impossible. However a more popular consensus is that a chance of only one in 10^50 (that is 1 in a one with fifty zeroes after it) is so unlikely as to be virtually impossible. After all 10^50 is a much bigger number than the sum of all the ATOMS of all the people who have ever lived and going back 10^18 seconds would take you back way beyond the so called Big Bang.

Fantastic cells

In your body there are trillions ( that’s millions of millions) of cells and their main constituents are proteins which are made up of strings of amino acids. There are twenty different amino acids and they form chains very like the letters we use. Some of these proteins have over a thousand amino acid “letters” in the chain and to produce that by chance goes well above the odds of what is considered impossible. Even “simple” proteins have over fifty of these “letters”.

The cells turn out to be complex structures that must have these proteins (which take on peculiar shapes), assembled in a certain order and which would be of no use if any part was missing or assembled in the wrong place. There are over 200 different types of cell in the human body, some constructed with forty different proteins. The information to put all of these chains and cells together is contained in the three billion code letters in our DNA and all but our red bloods cells each has a copy of this instruction manual.

This is a machine of such complexity that nothing man has made comes any way at all near to it.

 But the wonders of this “impossible creation” don’t stop there.

Energy mass equivalence

In 1905 Albert Einstein showed the world that energy and mass were interchangeable with that simple formula  e = mc^2

Well, the result looks simple but the few blackboards full of calculations to get there are not for the faint of heart. (He did not get his Nobel Prize for that.)

e is in Joules, m is the mass which is weight in kilograms divided by the acceleration due to gravity and c is the velocity of light in m/sec.

So, for someone like me, my former 100 kg represented a mass of about 10 kg and as c=300 million this makes J = 10 x 9 x 10^16

= 9 x 10^17 Joules or Watt.seconds

Your electric bill is rated in kilowatts running for so many hours. Power stations would talk in terms of Mega Watt hours and if my mass was fully converted into energy it would be 250 million Mega Watt hours and that is the amount of energy that made the elements that my body is composed of.

For comparison a mass of only one gram, converted to energy would be equivalent to the power of over half a million US gallons of gasoline (over two million litres of petrol)

God said and it was

 The Big Bang THEORY says that practically nothing became everything – energy to mass.

Not all scientists subscribe to the BB theory because they claim that it violates the laws of physics.

Many scientists are desperate to keep God out of creation and so they don’t believe that God said and it was – but with all the otherwise impossibilities of creation and the human body – I know which I believe.

 

 

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The web of “experts”

I lived for nearly twenty years in Denmark. It was there that I got my first driving licence. When we moved to Scotland I asked at the local police station about getting a UK driving licence. I was told that I could drive here for a year on my Danish licence but would have to take a driving test thereafter.This advice was based on a case they had recently had with someone from South Africa.

A problem arose when I went for a job interview. The job involved some driving. The interview went very well and I felt a growing confidence until I mentioned that I would have to soon sit a new driving test. I could feel it was lost and it was.

Determined to remove that show-stopper from future job interviews I went to get a test application form. In the guidlines it stated that a re-test was not necessary for applicants from other Common Market states – just send in the Danish licence and fifteen pounds and they would swap it for a UK licence.

Experts – beware of them!

Time and again I have been reminded of this. Some earn a reputation for knowledge and expertise in a particular field but it doesn’t necessarily mean they know everything about that or even related fields that they don’t know quite so much about. It is sometimes these related fields that they make pronouncements about under the cloak of expertise that they got elsewhere.

I have been looking at what Jesus replied when asked which commandment was greatest. In Mark 12:29-30 he replies with the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear O Israel the LORD our God is one LORD. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart —.   The word for one is echad. The Companion Bible has a note about the word one which it points out  is a”compound unity” or one made up of several. It does say that it can also mean unique.

Wanting to know more about this word I found a website that seemed very sound http://www.hebrew-streams.org that has an article on the word echad which is used over nine hundred times in the Old Testament and in 600 of these it simply means the cardinal number ONE. It says that in Hebrew there is a word for togetherness or a joining unity and that is yachad .

Many “experts” just give the compound unity definition as it opens up the possibility of a trinity concept in the Old Testament but as the article in hebrew-streams points out there is much more to the word echad.

The Koine Greek “experts” have come to agree on certain ways to translate certain things in this now dead language and although some are super qualified and have loads of letters after their name they still don’t have to be right all the time. There were many experts at the time of Jesus but he rejoiced that God had hidden things from them but had revealed them unto babes and the unlearned. The apostles amazed the priests with their knowledge because they were unlearned and ordinary(idiotai. in Greek).

Origen was a Christian scholar from Alexandria ca 184 – 254 AD. One of his most famous works was the Hexapla – a six column manuscript with the Hebrew OT in the first column, a Greek transliteration in the next and then four versions of the Septuagint in the remaining columns. He lived in the age when Koine Greek was the common language in much of the area around the Mediterranean – he knew his Greek.

In his commentary on John’s gospel or what we have of it, he says that John was familiar with the niceties of Greek and was very careful with his use of the definite article, where it was used and where it wasn’t used.

Bearing this in mind notice how the experts play fast and loose with the definite article. Of course it would be hard to read a translation that put the article in whenever it is used in the Greek but leaving it out misses something. They don’t hold back from putting it in where it was carefully left out. Jesus always called himself, “the son of the man”. This would surely mean ,”the son of David” to his hearers. The son of man would apply to any man.

Another host of experts are those who can tell you the meaning of prophesies about Israel but who think that the Jews are the whole house of Israel. Anyone who doesn’t know the difference can’t be taken seriously.

Three thousand years ago, King David ordered a census to be taken of the people of Israel and Judah and the number of fighting men, if we take the numbers from 2Sam24:9, were 500 thousand from Judah and 800 thousand from Israel. ( 1Chron gives different figures but there are explanations for this). At any rate they must have numbered  a few million. How many would they be now? The present number of Jews in the world is estimated to be about 15 million – I don’t know how many of these would pass as fighting men.

The prophet Hosea was sent to the northern kingdom of Israel which had broken away from the tribes that formed the kingdom called Judah. I Hosea chapter one we read

And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
Hos 1:7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
Hos 1:8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
Hos 1:9 Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
Hos 1:10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
Hos 1:11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Nearly two thousand years ago Josephus said the ten tribes lived beyond the Euphrates and were a great multitude. These were Israelites but never Jews. Many prophesies are about them and not just the Jews. So to only look at the Jews misses much of the picture.

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The traditional cross

 

As far as we know, Christians in the first three centuries didn’t use the cross as a symbol. The popular symbols were of a shepherd carrying a lamb on his shoulders, an anchor, a vine and the fish sign.

No one knows exactly what Jesus was crucified on – was it T shaped, or the traditional cross shape or just an upright pole.

The Greek word stauros literally means a stake and that is the word that is traditionally translated as cross and from it crucify. No word actually means cross.

The Emperor Constantine’s mother Helena is reputed to have found the “true cross” in Jerusalem three hundred years after the time of Jesus. That was a long time after the event. There had been at least two revolts in Judea in which hundreds of thousands were slaughtered and the city destroyed. Josephus tells us that under the siege of Jerusalem in 70AD the Romans often caught five hundred people a day, who in their desperation, were out foraging for something to eat and they crucified them as a warning to others but he says they were running out of wood to crucify them on.  Stakes or crosses – we don’t know but crosses require a lot more wood than stakes.

Many traditions come from that time.

Eusebius tells of the vision that Constantine had when he saw a sign in heaven and Christ told him that “in this sign he would conquer”. Constantine adopted this sign and went on to win his battles. Artists like Raphael have shown this sign as a cross but the historian Eusebius shows it as the first two letters for the Greek word for Christ – XP chi rho. Tradition, time and again triumphs over truth, fables and fantasies over facts.

The word for fish in Greek is Ichthys ΙΧΘΥΣ which stands for :–

Jesus         Ι

Christ        Χ

of God      Θ

Son            Υ

Saviour      Σ

Easily drawn with two curved lines or one line drawn by one stranger and completed by another as a “Christian password”. John wrote in his Gospel that he had written these things to show that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that through believing they might have life. So this was the statement of the Christian beliefs condensed into a rebus -the word for fish.

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Tradition of Easter

Three Days and Three Nights

Tradition has it that Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and rose from the dead on ‘Easter’ morning, a Sunday. ( Easter is a word derived from the name of a heathen goddess so you can see where tradition has brought us) – we have the four Gospels which each supply different parts of the story.

Jesus said that this would be the only sign that he would give to those who demanded a sign from him. “— there shall be no sign given to it , but the sign of the prophet Jonas. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matt.12:39-40

Actually he consistently called himself notthe son of man” but the Greek literally says “the son of the man”, however, for some traditional reason it is always translated as “the Son of man” – it is written with the definite article in front of man about eighty times – always when Jesus speaks of himself and also when Stephen says it as he is being stoned and sees Jesus at the right hand of God.

Was this “ the son of the man” not understood by the Jews as meaning – the son of David, the longed for Messiah. Males usually are – sons of men?

So, did he mean three days and three nights or was this just a Jewish idiom which meant a few days?  He was also to rise on the third day Acts 10:40

In Genesis we read that – the evening and the morning were the first day, so the Jewish day started in the evening. In another place we read – are there not twelve hours in the day John 11:9. Like us they referred to a whole day as a day or used the word to refer to the daylight hours. So a day and a night must mean roughly a whole day, But not so roughly that three days and three nights could be one whole and a bit of a day and two nights.

John tells us that Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Sabbath but John goes on to tell us that that Sabbath was a High Sabbath John 19:31. The Day of Atonement and the First Day of Unleavened Bread, were High Sabbaths and could fall on any day of the week.

On the Day of Preparation the unblemished lamb was to be killed and then eaten after sunset on the First Day of Unleavened Bread which was a High Sabbath.

 Jesus is the Passover Lamb and so, as prophesied – he was killed on the Day of Preparation.

Was it the Passover meal that Jesus ate with his disciples? If it was then how could the others think that Judas had been sent out by Jesus to buy something for the feast, as the High Sabbath was begun and so it was against the law to buy or sell John 13:29.

The women watched Joseph put Jesus in the tomb but it says they returned and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment Luke 23:56. So they needed some non Sabbath time for that.They came to the tomb before sunrise and found him already risen. It does not say that he rose on that Sunday morning but that he was already risen.

Putting all the accounts together we can say –

Tuesday evening – the last supper

Wednesday – trial and crucifixion and burial.

Wednesday evening and Thursday – First Day of Unleavened bread – Jesus in the earth N + D

Thursday evening and Friday a workday N + D

Friday evening and Saturday – the weekly Sabbath, just before evening he is raised .N + D

So he arose on the third day after being in the grave for seventy two hours. Prophesy fulfilled! He is the Messiah!

Have you noticed how traditional teaching makes a group of top Jewish lawyers and Pilate appear stupid in Matthew’s account.

Mat 27:62  Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

Mat 27:63  Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

Mat 27:64  Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away –

Notice the after and until – well, the answer is simple. The third day must mean the third day of the week- Monday evening to Tuesday evening. The Greek supports this idea. Otherwise they would be sending the guards home just before the action was due to take place.

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Traditional teaching about death

In the Old Testament when a  patriarch died it is recorded that he was buried and slept with his fathers.

The Greeks had a very developed idea of what happens to the soul after death and their philosophers developed the idea of the soul’s immortality.Their abode of the dead was called Hades and there were good and bad parts of it; blissful or tormented.The place of the dead in Hebrew was Sheol and this was translated as Hades in the Greek scriptures and Hell or the grave in English.

However, we should not adopt the Greek ideas about Hades. The Bible clearly states that the soul that sins will die and in 1 Tim 5 we read that only the supreme God possesses immortality(non dying), which means therefore that the soul is not immortal. We may put on immortality but it is not something we are born with. The Romans were fascinated with Greek culture and philosophy and so the Christian church gradually adopted much of it in the first centuries, encouraged by the “wise and educated” who wanted the church to shine and be accepted, forsaking what the Old Testament taught for the more sophisticated Greek learning. In Acts 17 the Bereans were praised for searching the scriptures to verify Paul’s message, that is they searched the Old Testament.

Throughout the Psalms we read of the finality of death but in Daniel 12:2 we read of those who sleep in the dust of the earth awakening, some to life and some to everlasting shame. None of them would have been in heaven for Jesus says in John 3 that no one has ascended into heaven except himself who had come down from heaven.

Going to heaven when you die is the Greek idea of the Elysian Fields for those who had found favour. The bad guys went to Tartarus to be punished.

We are exhorted to lay up treasure in heaven and we say, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, when the kingdom of heaven comes among us – we are to lay up treasure in heaven but there is no promise that says we will live there.

The hope of many is that when they die they will go to heaven but the hope of the New Testament is the resurrection, when the ones ‘sleeping’ in Christ will arise to meet Jesus at his return. This is known as the first resurrection. The second resurrection is to be a thousand years later when the rest of the dead will arise to be judged according to what they did in this life – so no babies being tortured in hell because they were not baptised or any such wicked teaching.

 The traditional idea of going straight to heaven leaves little to be desired from a future resurrection.

 At the end of the Book of Daniel he is told what will happen to him.”But go thou thy way till the end: for thou shall rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.” Dan 12

The souls of the martyrs under the altar in Rev 6 are told they should rest a bit longer.

Paul says, “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” Phil.3

Jesus sometimes equates death with sleep. When he spoke of Lazarus he said he was sleeping and it says too that he meant he was dead. John 11

In Mark 5 he told the mourners in the house of Jairus that the girl was not dead but asleep.

Paul speaks of those believers who are asleep, that they will not be preceded by those who are still alive at the coming of Christ. 1 Thess 4

But Paul says that if he is to die then he will be absent from the body and present with the Lord. How can that be if he says the dead in Christ are asleep? We experience this every night – we fall asleep and awake hours later. Time has passed in an instant.

But what sort of sleep is it? Samuel complained to Saul that he had been disquieted when the medium called him up. 1 Sam 28

Jesus said that when Moses was at the burning bush, God revealed himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Not however the God of the dead but of the living.

If we sleep, then is dreaming unreasonable? Will our final sleep be pleasant or will we have a bad night?

For the rich man  in Luke 16 who saw Lazarus in comfort in Abraham’s bosom it was a very bad night. Those who believe in eternal punishment straight after death for unbelievers and heaven for believers point to this story as proof. The details in this story hardly fit in with the usual ideas of heaven and hell. But it could be the rich man’s dream.

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Traditional Bible Translation

Traditional Bible Translation

You can’t just feed the original Bible manuscripts into a machine and expect a perfect translation to come out – Why?

1. those handwritten manuscripts no longer exist although parts of copies are extant.

2. when going from one language to another there isn’t always an exact equivalent word or a literal translation might not make any sense if taken out of context.

3. some words have changed meaning over the years.

So the translator’s job is by no means easy.

The mainly Hebrew and Greek manuscripts were written in capital letters. The choice of capital or cursive letter in the translation is at the discretion of the translator.

If we believe scripture to be inspired by God and wish to know what it really says then we must bare these things in mind.

The King James Bible has been good enough to add some words in italics, these are there to make the English readable but they are not in the original.

Originally the KJB had a multi page “translators’ preface” in which they outlined some of the difficulties they faced and how they had chosen to surmount them – they certainly made no claim to have made a perfect translation as some today seem to suggest. This preface is rarely printed, being replaced by a tribute to the king who had authorised the translation.

He had his own reasons for giving it the go ahead – he disliked the Geneva Bible that was popular at the time because there were some marginal notes that he hated like the one that praised the Hebrew midwives for disobeying the king’s orders. He laid down some rules about what could be in the margins and about the type of language that could be used. Hence we have Passover in Acts 12:4 translated to Easter (name derived from the heathen goddess of fertility- Easter bunnies, eggs etc). Certain ecclesiastical terms had to be adhered to.

The Hebrew language does not have regular written vowels like ours. If you change the vowels between three consonants in an English word you would probably have changed the meaning of the word completely. In Hebrew you would just make it change to something related to it, like house changing meaning into home or family depending on the vowel sounds you used. Which vowels were used were passed down orally but as time went by it became imperative that they find a way of preserving these vowel sounds in writing. About 700 AD they came up with a system of dots and lines that could be added to the sacred text in a way that left it undisturbed and these are known as nikkud.

The Jews took the very letter of the Law as sacred and in spite of their strenuous efforts to preserve the original text, errors did creep in, but they dared not correct them. Instead they produced marginal notes saying what must be read for certain words in the text which no longer made sense. These notes are known as the Quere and the text is called the Kethib.

The Old Testament was written mostly in Hebrew but most Jews actually lived outside of Palestine in other parts of the world that Alexander the Great had conquered and Hebrew was no longer their first language. In the third century BC it was translated into the language that most people spoke which was the Koine or common version of Greek. Most of the quotations from the Old in the New testament are taken from this version which is known as the Septuagint or LXX for short.

It was natural for the New Testament to be written in this ‘English of that day’. This would have been the second and sometimes first language of the people in first century Palestine and throughout much of the Roman empire.

Greek has many tenses that need a few words of English to do justice to the meaning and they are formed by small changes to the basic word and the word order is not as rigid as in English.

There is a definite article – a word for THE (actually there are three words for THE depending on it referring to a masculine/ feminine or neuter noun and it is not always obvious which of these genders a thing falls into.Greek does not have an A or AN (indefinite article) as we do. But the lack of the definite article doesn’t always warrant an A or AN in translation, it can indicate a quality and in the case of theos can mean godlike or divine.

Translators beware! 

If they put in the A or AN, it might not be strictly correct or if they put in the THE every time it occurs it might make very stunted reading; leaving the THE out can alter the meaning that was intended.

There are about eighty places where Jesus is called or calls himself “the son of the man” in the Greek but the traditional translation drops the second the. Now what would that say to a Jew who was waiting for the son of David to come to rescue the nation? The traditional translation misses the point.

When God is referred to he is the god (ho theos) because in those days lots of mortal men were called gods such as magistrates or others with power or authority. However if it was literally translated every time then it would be awkward to read.

One solution would be to write God with a capital G and theos without the definite article would necessarily be god with a small g. In the traditional translations both get a capital G unless the translator’s theology forbids it. So in Philippians 2 we see that there is no definite article in “equal to god” or in “in the form of god” but there is when we read that God exalted him and gave him a name over all names. But translators’ preconceptions usually use a capital G throughout.

Similarly the porter who carried your case would have addressed you as lord (kurios) in the same way as today he might address you as Sir. So at that time neither the words god nor lord would have to have the meanings that we have come to attach to them.

Reader beware!

Those who have translated our Bible have not had an easy job. They have had to make decisions on the translation of words from long ago from books written in capital letters and often without spaces between the words. Ancient manuscripts were hand copied before the invention of the printing press which gave rise to slight changes being introduced by accident and sad to say some maybe not so accidental. We know how church historians have played fast and loose with historical records to make themselves look better and their foes worse.

When they have come to a translation crossroad, they have often chosen the path that confirms their theology and then the circle is completed by the theology being confirmed by those same translations.

However, God’s word has stood the test and although the letter may have at times been corrupted, the spirit of the word shines through and with a bit of effort we can bypass the translators and their choices and we can make up our own minds about what the word really says. Jesus says that his spoken words are life and they are spirit. May we indeed hear what the spirit says to the “called out”.

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